Decatur Veterinarian Says Good Pet Dental Health is Essential to Overall Pet Wellness

Decatur, Illinois, UNITED STATES

DECATUR, Ill., July 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Decatur veterinarians are warning pet owners about the consequences of not taking care of their pets teeth. "Nearly two-thirds of domestic cats and dogs have some kind of gum or tooth disease, and most pet owners are unaware of the problem," warn Drs. Shelly Stevens and Robert Groesch, the husband and wife veterinary team that head the staff at Fairview Hospital for Animals in Decatur, Illinois. They want every pet owner to be aware of the dangers of poor pet dental hygiene. The animal hospital encourages pet owners to schedule annual pet teeth cleanings and dental checkups for their cats and dogs.

Like dental and gum disease in humans, pet dental issues are caused primarily by bacteria and food particles that accumulate in the mouth and on the teeth. Periodontal pet dental disease is an infection of the gums from the result of soft dental plaque build-up on the surfaces of the teeth and around the gums. If the infected area is not kept clean, tartar will begin to form; once tartar has formed it is extremely difficult to get off without the help of a veterinary professional who has access to dental instruments that can scrape the tartar off. When this bacteria is left unchecked it can cause a number of problems, including inflamed gums, tooth decay, and extremely bad breath.

In extreme cases, the bacteria can spread throughout the pet's body and may cause kidney failure, and systemic infections. For pets with advanced dental issues, dental cleaning is often not enough to stop its spread. Sometimes, Decatur veterinarians have to extract an infected tooth. The good news is that nearly all pets recover completely after such an extraction and a short course of antibiotics. For more extreme cases, where more than one tooth is affected, oral surgery may be needed.

Dr. Stevens advises pet owners to check daily for any signs of periodontal disease by gently inspecting the gums and teeth. Healthy gums are a light pink color, whereas inflamed gums are red and angry looking. Plaque buildup on teeth will begin to turn black. Other signs of pet dental disease include a sudden loss of interest in grooming and/or eating, drooling and general lethargy. The Fairview Hospital for Animals in Decatur, recommends that pet owners brush their pets' teeth daily with dog or cat friendly toothpaste to help keep their teeth clean. The animal hospital also reminds pet owners to not forgo an annual teeth cleaning even if you brush their teeth at home. These annual dental visits are important, as the veterinarians have special dental instruments that can give pets teeth a good, deep cleaning.

For more information about periodontal disease in pets and proper dental care visit Fairview Hospital for Animals website at


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